The Soft Shackle

My very first soft shackle lesson was at the 2015 Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival. Brion Toss was having an impromptu lesson on how to make a soft shackle. There are a few different versions of soft shackles that you can make. Do an internet search and you will find them. The shackle demonstrated here is the one I learned from Brion Toss and it uses a variation of the Button Knot from his book, The Rigger’s Apprentice. Once you get the button knot down, you should be able to whip out a soft shackle in under 10 minutes.



  1. Marker or wax pencil to mark line
  2. Marlingspike
  3. Sailmaker’s needle
  4. Measuring device
  5. Waxed twine
  6. Tape (for securing ends of line)
  7. Splicing wand
  8. HM Shears or line cutting device
  9. 48 inches of 1/4″ Amsteel

The Steps

1. Measure & cut line, form eye.

Wrap tape at both cut points to secure ends while working. Fold line in half and make eye, sized big enough to easily fit two line diameters through. Take one end and pass it through the center of the line.



2. Constrictor knot

Using waxed twine and a sailmaker’s needle, secure the two strands together. After stitching through the two stands and locking in the loose end, I used a double constrictor knot to tie off the twine. This is just to hold the lines in place while you make the button knot.


3. Button knot


4. Splice tails




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